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Just News — January 2016

Social Justice Network

Following the birth of her adorable baby girl, Mira-Éden, and her maternity leave, Ms. Bineta Ba has resumed her functions as coordinator of the CND Social Justice Network. Welcome back, Bineta! You now carry on the actions undertaken last year by Apraham Niziblian.

As a means to concretely apply the orientation adopted by the network in 2014, regarding caring for our planet, Apraham imagined an innovative and rather ambitious project. This project was approved by the three members of the advisory committee and endorsed by the members of the General Council. The Council recognized the educational dimension and reimagining of a “green mother house, one that would make even the most environmentally conscious person blush.”[1]

The objective of the mother house project is then twofold: to serve as a powerful inspiration to all CND sisters, associates and staff members and to encourage the sisters and associates already involved in similar projects to carry on. This symbolic yet concrete movement also is a means by which to improve our way of life and, in so doing, effectively contribute to the protection of the planet, our common home, at a time when it is in peril. How can we not reply to the insistent call of Pope Francis in his Laudato si’ addressed to all human beings of good will?

Mr. Normand Roy of Équiterre was selected to accompany us in this project. Of the 95 actions initially submitted, 13 were retained to launch the “Greening the Mother House Project.”

These actions will enable us to concretely apply the network’s declaration of intent for 2016-2017:

Aware that human actions are putting the earth in peril, we pledge to work with others in a spirit of dialogue

  • to safeguard the earth and to promote the equitable sharing of resources;
  • And to ensure quality of life for all humanity and for all creation.

Hence, we plan to take concrete action and remain loyal to our Chapter orientation (2011-2016) pertaining to simplicity for mission.

While pursuing our commitments to various important issues, we are aware that it is urgent that we take action against climate change. For 2015-2017, in continuity with the encyclical, Laudato Si’, and the Corporate Stance, we are committed to raising awareness in our regions and to taking action in order to halt climate change. We will organize joint actions as a network and each province and region will identify concrete actions in its Plan of Action.

We also pledge to develop the spirituality which underlies this orientation in connection with the charism of Marguerite Bourgeoys.

Many things have occurred since the last network meeting.

A “greening committee” was formed under the responsibility of the leader of the Mother House Community. This greening committee is made up of a number of sisters who live in the mother house and of several staff members. Its purpose is to “inform, raise awareness and take small actions for the protection of the environment.” In time, this committee will make it possible for the mother house to be a member of Green Church.

A plan of action was drafted taking into account the needs and realities of the sisters who live in the mother house and staff members who work there. An illustration of this is the fair trade coffee served in the cafeteria. Victory took several steps to achieve: a lot of questioning; finding solutions; accepting one of them; at last, implementing the service which resulted in a morning cup of coffee. This demonstrates skilled communications performed with respect for others. As the phrase goes: “When there’s a will, there’s a way!”

The General Council has accepted to finance 12 actions starting in 2016. This means that, of the 13 actions that were retained, only one was shelved by the General Council.

Lise Perras, CND


The 12 actions on which we will work starting in 2016

The persons involved: Department coordinators and affected services; external partners, like Dawson College, relative to the recycling project. We also will continue our collaboration with Mr. Normand Roy of Équiterre.

In line with the 12 actions on which we are working this year, Normand Roy has identified other easily achievable ones. They mostly concern maintenance of equipment and effective monitoring of repairs. Most of these actions are under the responsibility of Mr. Ghislain Lambert, the coordinator of Maintenance Services at the mother house.

Performing these actions will reduce our water and power consumption and will increase the building’s air quality.

The table below shows these actions and Bineta Ba’s follow up as of January 11, 2016.

Easily achievable actions

 

First cup of fair trade coffee         

 

Organic household products

Eco-fair-trade corn

 

Lines of action for the provinces and regions

  1. Draw inspiration from the list of 95 actions
  2. Find a consultant to accompany you in this process
  3. Identify the actions that can be done and that can be adapted to your house/community
  4. Take action. Each one counts!

COP21 Paris – November 30 to December 3, 2015

Before COP21                                                                                          

Josianne Gauther, of Development and Peace

A guest of the Greening Committee, Ms. Josianne Gauther, of Development and Peace, gave a presentation at the mother house on the theme: To Paris and Beyond, A Reflection on the Singular Crisis. With great passion, Josianne informed us that in order to save the planet, every individual needs to go through a personal ecological conversion.

Finding solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to counter climate change is, a “moral and non- negotiable engagement,” to quote Pope Francis in his Laudato Si’. This commitment concerns everybody and it’s urgent.

After COP21

Reflections on Paris Climate by Stacy Hanrahan, CND NGO Representative for DPI and UNANIMA affiliations at the UN.

 

Some Key Components of the Paris Agreement

  1. Governments have agreed to limit global warming to well below 2.5 C, and to 1.5C (as soon as possible) above pre-industrial levels. This seems impossible just 6 months before the Conference.
  2. Countries have submitted concrete pledges to curb their carbon emissions.
  3. Countries are asked to make pledges to see that the funding structures already in place and those to come ensure that the needs of those in extreme poverty are addressed through additional forms of aid. A number of countries have already announced increased financial contributions to this effort.
  4. Countries agreed to a long term global goal to get to zero emissions, and to work to bring emissions down from peak levels as soon as possible.
  5. Governments agreed to the establishment of a FIVE-YEAR review of their countries' progress on reaching the goals. (This had been a contentious point in deliberations, with some countries wanting a ten-year review cycle and others preferring no mechanism beyond those set at national levels.).

Presentation by David Fines[2]on the Conference in Paris

David Fines, who attended COP21 in Paris as a journalist, was invited by Bineta to give a presentation at the mother house. He met political leaders and participated in events organized by civil society and environmental groups. Like Sister Stacy Hanrahan, David identified COP21’s shortcomings and gave it a passing grade of 60%. Yes, an agreement was reached, but there are still some serious flaws. In his opinion, this agreement will not resolve the global warming crisis.

The data tells us the planet is warming; the science is clear that humans are responsible; the impacts we’re seeing today are already serious; and our future is in our hands. As John Holdren once said, “We basically have three choices: mitigation, adaptation, and suffering. We’re going to do some of each. The question is what the mix is going to be. The more mitigation we do, the less adaptation will be required, and the less suffering there will be.”

 http://www.macleans.ca/news/world/one-canadians-quest-to-use-scripture-to-help-sell-climate-science/


Have contributed to this issue:

Sr. Lise Perras CND

Sr. Stacy Hanrahan CND

Ms. Bernadette Walsh

Ms. Bineta Ba

 


[1] Just News, Autumn 2014

[2]David Fines is a United Church of Canada pastor. He has written or co-written four books on the connection between faith and action for the protection of the environment.

 

 

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